Khushbu Mishra is a PhD Candidate in Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics at Ohio State University and is currently on the job market.
Increasing agricultural efficiency is key to reducing poverty in developing agrarian economies such as those in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where the agricultural sector plays a crucial role in economic development. A primary means of increasing agricultural efficiency is investing in modern agricultural technology — however, SSA has one of the lowest rates of technology adoption around the world. Among the causes of low adoption, two interrelated factors have been identified as critical: lack of collateral and riskiness of agricultural returns. On the demand side, farmers are often unable to obtain credit because they lack collateral or because they are reluctant to seek credit due to the risk of losing assets pledged as collateral in case of an adverse shock (e.g., drought and floods). This is particularly true for female farmers who lack access or ownership of agricultural resources, and find it more difficult to insure themselves against systemic weather-related shocks. Continue reading